The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports the word is out. The Basij are targeting women.
Female protesters on the streets of the Iranian capital Tehran are living in fear of being singled out for attack by members of the country’s Basij militia, the ABC has been told. …
“The main scary thing is the Basij. They are militants who are given batons and chains by the government,” said the source, a 27-year-old engineer who wants to be known as Leyla.
“They attack and beat the people, without any notice, and they attack the women.
“The Basij are more scary than the army. They have no uniform and just wear normal clothes. So it’s hard to tell who are the Basij and who are the protesters. That’s why they are more dangerous.”
It turns out that Basij not only like to beat up women, but old ladies. Amnesty International has denounced the Basij and called on the Iranian government to instruct the militia to moderate their brutality.
The Basij militia is a volunteer paramilitary force of men and women under the control of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). Its members are found in schools, universities, state and private institutions, factories, and even among tribes. Basij forces are widely used to help to maintain law and order and repress dissent, and have frequently been accused of using extreme brutality.
Many of those who took part in the recent demonstrations claim non – uniformed and armed personnel, whom they believed to be members of the Basij militia, used excessive force and carried out human rights violations – including beatings and use of firearms – against demonstrators on the streets. A video of a member of the Basij shooting from an building used by the Basij during the demonstrations on Monday 15 June in which at least 8 people were killed should have triggered an immediate investigation by the authorities and clear instructions should have been issued to prevent further loss of life. Another video of a young woman identified as Neda, dying apparently from a chest wound, has been widely circulated amid claims of involvement of Basij members.
It is inconceivable that Basij should have acted without the instructions of their masters. And it is unlikely that those instructions were designed to “prevent further loss of life” so much as to cause it. Appealing the better nature of murderers and bullies is a little bit like placing a call to a long-disconnected number. And to understand that difference is to comprehend when “behavior change” is appropriate and when “regime change” is all you have left.